Thursday, November 14, 2019

PREVIEW: At Homestead, new teams and returning drivers look to end 2019 season on a high note

Brandon Brown runs the #68 in Saturday's XFINITY finale.
PHOTO: Collin Fern, @Collin_Fern
Friday, November 15, 2019
TRUCKS Race 23 of 23
Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead
Championship Race
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Camden Murphy

Matt Crafton (#88)
Ross Chastain (#45)
Stewart Friesen (#52)
Brett Moffitt (#24)

There are 37 trucks entered for the 32 spots in Friday’s season finale, meaning five will miss the show.

DRIVER SWAP: #8-NEMCO Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #87-NEMCO Motorsports
After securing his second-consecutive LASTCAR Truck Series title last week in Phoenix, Joe Nemechek moves from the #87 back to the #8, taking the place of his son John Hunter Nemechek, who isn’t entered. Sliding into the #87 this week is Camden Murphy, the defending last-place finisher of this race. If Murphy qualifies, it will be his first start since Michigan.

RETURNING: #9-CR7 Motorsports
Codie Rohrbaugh will close out 2019 with the season finale, looking to make his first series start since a season-best 10th in Martinsville just last month.

RETURNING: #11-Rette Jones Racing
Spencer Davis rejoins the circuit for the first time since the fall race in Las Vegas, where he finished 18th, and will again drive the Rette Jones #11 Toyota, this time sponsored by the Hearn Group.

MISSING: #21-GMS Racing
Sam Mayer is not entered after two wild afternoons in both Martinsville and Phoenix, where a pair of strong runs were slowed by accidents. Mayer finished 19th at ISM after he tangled with John Hunter Nemechek in the final laps.

DRIVER CHANGE: #33-Reaume Brothers Racing
The preliminary entry list had no driver listed in for Carson Ware, who struggled with electrical issues during his Truck Series debut last week in Phoeni. By Wednesday, it was confirmed Josh Bilicki will drive the truck, his fourth series start and first since Kentucky this past summer. Exotic Car Trader is the listed sponsor.

DRIVER CHANGE: #34-Reaume Brothers Racing
The first entry list also didn’t have a driver listed for the #34 in for Kyle Plott, who finished 25th in his series debut at Phoenix. That also changed Wednesday as team owner Josh Reaume will pilot his #34, which will carry a “thank you” message to the r/NASCAR page on Reddit.

DRIVER CHANGE: #44-Niece Motorsports
Angela Ruch makes her 10th series start of the season and first since Talladega, where he ran 28th. She takes the place of Ty Majeski, who recovered from an engine change penalty to finish a strong 11th in his first-ever Truck Series start.

MISSING: #46-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Chandler Smith is not entered along with the part-time KBM entry he steered to a 3rd-place finish at the ISM Raceway.

RETURNING: #49-CMI Motorsports
Ray Ciccarelli will attempt the season finale, seeking his ninth series start of the year and first since a 21st-place run at Martinsville last month.

DRIVER CHANGE: #51-Kyle Busch Motorsports
Christian Eckes takes over for Brandon Jones, who nearly pulled off the win at Phoenix following an early spin, only to finish second to Stewart Friesen. Eckes also makes his first start since Martinsville last month, where he scored his fourth pole in his eight races this year and finished 17th. His best finish of the year remains a 3rd-place showing in the fall race at Vegas.

DRIVER CHANGE: #56-Hill Motorsports
Tyler Hill and the Hill Motorsports team return to action this Friday, one week after their Owner Points were used to field a second Jordan Anderson truck for Carson Hocevar, 23rd at Phoenix. This marks the first time the Hills’ own truck will run since their breakthrough performance at Martinsville, where Timmy Hill finished 5th. New sponsor Hair Club will sponsor Tyler this week.

RETURNING: #75-Henderson Motorsports
Parker Kligerman and Charlie Henderson will return for the season finale, where Kligerman seeks his third series start of the year and first since his season-best 13th under the lights at Bristol. Kligerman has two Truck Series starts at Homestead, but none since 2012, when he won the pole and finished 7th for Red Horse Racing.

TEAM UPDATE: #97-JJL Motorsports / Diversified Motorsports Enterprises
Jayski reported on Tuesday that Logan Puckett had purchased the assets of JJL Motorsports, which was originally set to close at the end of this season. The team will instead return to action for another limited schedule in 2020 as “Diversified Motorsports Enterprises,” keeping on Jesse Little as the primary driver in addition to Little’s XFINITY effort for JD Motorsports. To mark this occasion, Little’s #97, which failed to qualify at Phoenix, will carry primary sponsorship from Diversified Utility Group, Inc.

RETURNING: #04-Roper Racing
It’s been a challenging year for Cory Roper, who had to scale back his full-time operation, having started eight Truck Series races and not started one since Michigan in August, where he ran 28th after a crash. But driver and team will be back in action on Friday, looking to improve on their 17th-place finish in this race last year.


Saturday, November 16, 2019
XFINITY Race 33 of 33
Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead
Championship Race
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Vinnie Miller

Justin Allgaier (#7)
Christopher Bell (#20)
Cole Custer (#00)
Tyler Reddick (#2)

There are 39 drivers entered for 38 spots, meaning one team will fail to qualify.

DRIVER CHANGE: #4-JD Motorsports
B.J. McLeod steps in for Ryan Vargas, who isn’t entered following a 26th-place showing at Phoenix. McLeod will carry sponsorship from KSDT & Company CPA on Johnny Davis’ #4 Chevrolet. The Davis team tweeted Wednesday they are bringing two backups in addition to their four entered cars.

DRIVER CHANGE: #8-JR Motorsports
Jeb Burton was announced on Wednesday as one of three drivers who will again share time in the #8 Chevrolet in 2020, joining Daniel Hemric and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. This week, Burton, who last ran at Texas and finished 9th, will take the place of Zane Smith, who finished a strong 5th at Phoenix.

DRIVER CHANGE: #13-Motorsports Business Management
DRIVER SWAP: #61-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill returns to drive the #13, moving Chad Finchum from the #13 to the #61. According to his tweets, Finchum is anticipated to run the full race following up his strong run in Fort Worth. Tommy Joe Martins is not entered after strong 17th-place run driving the #61 in Phoenix.

DRIVER CHANGE: #17-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER SWAP: #74-Mike Harmon Racing
The preliminary entry list had no driver listed to drive the #17 in place of Joe Nemechek, who has moved over to drive the #74 in place of Mike Harmon this Saturday. That changed by Wednesday, as Robby Lyons will attempt his XFINITY Series debut in the #17. We last saw Lyons run on a national stage in this year’s Daytona opener for the Truck Series, where he was collected in a crash and finished 30th driving for Jeff Finley.

DRIVER CHANGE: #18-Joe Gibbs Racing
One week after Riley Herbst finished 30th due to crash damage in the team he will run full-time for in 2020, Harrison Burton will close out the 2019 season with the same iK9 sponsorship. This will be Burton’s 9th series start of the year and first since Texas, where he ran 7th.

NEW TEAM: #26-Sam Hunt Racing
Announced a few weeks ago, Homestead will mark the first attempt by start-up Sam Hunt Racing, which has Brian Keselowski atop the pit box and Colin Garrett, 8th in this year’s K&N Pro Series West, behind the wheel. Garrett made his XFINITY debut earlier this year at Richmond, where he ran 26th for Carl Long back in the spring. Kraken Skulls Beard Oil is the listed sponsor of the dark gray Toyota Supra.

RETURNING: #68-Brandonbilt Motorsports
DRIVER CHANGE: #86-Brandonbilt Motorsports
The Brandonbilt team fields their second car for the first time since the Roval, moving Brandon Brown from his traditional #86 entry to the returning #68, sponsored by Vero. Taking Brown’s place in the #86 is Will Rodgers, whose third and most recent series start came in the #86 at the Roval, where he finished 28th after a late spin.

UPDATE: #89-Shepherd Racing Ventures
Morgan Shepherd's Facebook page broke news Thursday that they have landed a sponsor for the season finale this Saturday, one year after Landon Cassill first drove for the team. If they qualify, Cassill will run the full race, looking to give the #89 its first finish under power since September 28, 2013 at Dover, where Shepherd finished 27th.

Alex Labbe seeks his 10th series start of the year and first since his 15th-place showing in Kansas, again driving Mario Gosselin’s flagship #90 Chevrolet. He takes the place of Ronnie Bassett, Jr., who had problems under the hood at Phoenix and finished 33rd. Labbe carries sponsorship from Globocam, Rousseau, and Silver Wax.

MISSING: #92-DGM Racing
Dexter Bean is not entered along with the second Gosselin car following his early exit from the race in Phoenix, out after 39 laps with brake trouble and finishing 35th.

C.J. McLaughlin was originally listed to be the driver of the #93 last week in Phoenix, but an apparent mistake on the entry list led to Bayley Currey driving the car, then exiting after 34 laps to finish 36th. This week, McLaughlin is again entered in place of Currey as he seeks his seventh XFINITY start of the year and first since his 27th-place showing in Texas. Currey will also not run Sunday’s Cup race as he’s been swapped out of that ride for Josh Bilicki (see below).

DRIVER CHANGE: #99-B.J. McLeod Motorsports
Jairo Avila, Jr. will close out the season for McLeod’s third team, making his first start since Las Vegas in the fall, where he ran 27th. Art General Contractor will return as sponsor as he seeks to improve on his season-best 25th in the spring Vegas race. He takes the place of Josh Bilicki, who will run Cup and Trucks, but not XFINITY.


Sunday, November 17, 2019
CUP Race 36 of 36
Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead
Championship Race
2018 Last-Place Finisher: Regan Smith

Kyle Busch (#18)
Denny Hamlin (#11)
Kevin Harvick (#4)
Martin Truex, Jr. (#19)

The only LASTCAR title that remains to be settled is in the Cup Series, where five drivers were still in contention following last week’s race at the ISM Raceway. The contenders have since been cut to four as Cody Ware, who hasn’t started a Cup race since Michigan in August, isn’t entered. If full-timers Erik Jones, Michael McDowell, or Chase Elliott do not finish last, B.J. McLeod, entered in the #53, will take his first LASTCAR Cup Series title.

There are 40 drivers entered for as many spots, setting up only the 11th full field in 36 races this season, and the first since Fort Worth earlier this month.

DRIVER SWAP: #15-Premium Motorsports
DRIVER SWAP: #27-Premium Motorsports
Joe Nemechek to the #15 as Ross Chastain drives the #27. Both will carry longtime Jay Robinson sponsors as Nemechek carries branding and Chastain with Xchange of America. Chastain finished ahead of Nemechek at Phoenix, running 28th to Nemechek’s 34th.

DRIVER UPDATE: #21-Wood Brothers Racing
DRIVER UPDATE: #38-Front Row Motorsports
Sunday’s race will be the last as a full-time Cup driver for both Paul Menard and David Ragan. Both have been fixtures in the Cup Series for more than a decade. Menard hasn’t missed a race since June 24, 2007, his last DNQ at Sonoma. Ragan hasn’t missed a race since he failed to qualify for this same Homestead race on November 19, 2006.

DRIVER UPDATE: #36-Front Row Motorsports
On Wednesday came news that Matt Tifft has parted ways with Front Row Motorsports as he continues his recovery from the seizure suffered prior to track activity at Martinsville. John Hunter Nemechek remains the team's driver this weekend as SpeedyCash returns as sponsor.

TEAM UPDATE: #41-Stewart-Haas Racing
The reported departure of Daniel Suarez from SHR at the end of this season was confirmed Thursday after the driver was told late Wednesday. Cole Custer is reported to be his replacement, joining fellow XFINITY championship contenders Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell in advancing to Cup.

MISSING: #50-The Money Team Racing
After rumors swirled that boxing champion Floyd Mayweather would debut his new team this weekend in Homestead, his #50 Chevrolet was not to be found among the entrants on the preliminary list. Future plans for the team are yet unknown.

DRIVER SWAP: #51-Rick Ware Racing
DRIVER CHANGE: #53-Rick Ware Racing
J.J. Yeley moves from the #53 to the #51, taking the place of Garrett Smithley, who isn’t entered. Taking Yeley’s place in the #53 is B.J. McLeod, who like Yeley will run both on Saturday and Sunday. UPDATE: As of Thursday, Yeley has secured a full-time ride for Ware in 2020.

DRIVER CHANGE: #52-Rick Ware Racing
The second Ware car goes to Josh Bilicki, who takes the place of Bayley Currey, who isn’t entered. Bilicki takes the place of the originally scheduled Austin Theriault with sponsorship from Bangor Savings Bank and the Travis Mills Foundation. Theriault is not entered as he has still not been cleared to race after injuries suffered in a hard crash during the recent Cup race at Talladega.

DRIVER CHANGE: #66-Motorsports Business Management
Timmy Hill looks to make his eighth Cup start of the year and first since the fall race at Texas, where he ran 37th. As on that day, he will run the MBM #66, taking the place of Joey Gase, who dropped a cylinder in Phoenix and finished 38th. Generex Generators will sponsor Hill, who will also drive MBM’s #13 XFINITY car on Saturday and field his own Truck Series entry on Friday.

RETURNING: #96-Gaunt Brothers Racing
Sunday will mark the Cup Series debut of one Drew Herring, a longtime test driver for Joe Gibbs Racing. Herring has made 22 XFINITY Series starts since 2010, 12 of them for Gibbs for stand-alone races at tracks like Iowa and Kentucky, and one-offs for companion weekends. He won his first of two poles in his first start for Gibbs at Iowa on May 22, 2011 and finished 12th. His best finish remains a 4th at Kentucky in 2012. Herring hasn’t started a race in national NASCAR's top three series since March 18, 2017, when he ran 20th for the now-shuttered JGL Racing. He returns this weekend to drive for the Gaunt Brothers, driven for the team’s previous 14 starts this year by Parker Kligerman.

Today in LASTCAR history (November 14, 1971): Gordon Birkett of Tappahannock, Virginia picked up the first last-place finish of his Cup Series career in the Capital City 500 at the Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway when his #50 1969 Chevrolet fell out with a blown engine after 43 laps. Birkett started last in the 30-car field for his second and, as it turned out, final Cup Series start. His only other green flag came at the International Raceway Park in Ona, West Virginia where on August 8, 1971, his Chevrolet finished 21st of 35 starters, out after a crash.

1 comment:

Michael said...

Dear Brocklastcar Josh Reaume Has Withdrawn The 34 Truck From Homestead